Self-portraiture seems to me to be the most intimidating and frustrating artistic theme to tackle. We’re all our own worst critic and you’ve got to be pretty self-aware to not completely crumple into a mass of self-pity and existential crisis once you’ve begun deconstructing your very essence, just to put it out there for strangers to see! Or maybe I’m just too neurotic.
Cristina Troufa, a Portuguese artist with two Painting degrees under her belt (she earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts and Masters of Painting from the University of Fine Arts of Porto), has no such reservations when it comes to using herself as subject matter in her painting. She’s stated, “The theme of my work is about my life, about myself, and my beliefs.”
Indeed, Trofua’s paintings (often with technical drawing elements integrated) are soulful, reflective and incisive. She’s gentle with herself while remaining honest. There’s an openness to her self-portraits; she’s grappling with fundamental ideas of her existence and inviting the viewer to do the same. That’s confidence!
While pain and struggle may be written across Trofua’s face in her portraits – In Mantle, her three distinct selves are worried and co-dependent – she treats her body with beauty and grace. Her lines are fluid, her colors soft. It’s a delicate balance of rawness and respect and Troufa walks the line perfectly.